A Letterpress Bonanza!


Bonanza? Well, maybe more like a Ponderosa. We recently added some curious items to our little garage studio. My Sister-in-law found some printer’s blocks and wood type at an antique shop near Carson City, NV. She picked up the entire box. Printer’s blocks, wood type and sorts. This bundle came with a bit of provenance. Seems the blocks came from the Ponderosa Ranch. The owner of the antique store said they were stored in the wagon barn. It stands to reason why there is a bit of magnesium corrosion on the printer’s blocks, and lots of Tahoe sand on the wood type. I have found no evidence of a print shop as part of the amusement park. Perhaps the twelve silly headlines were part of the “Old Time Photos”. They probably had a little showcard press setup. I’ve seen that “Wanted Poster” set up at other western attractions. Get your picture taken in western attire and display it on a newspaper with a headline like:

To Star In Bonanza

Found Sober – Shocks Town

Found Drunk On Root Beer

Escapes Hanging – Rope Breaks

Picked Up In Vice Raid

Goes On Wagon – Distillers Panic

Arrested For Sobriety

Elected Queen Of Deadwood

Found Drunk On Beer

Loses Crap Game­–Hocks Kids

Escapes – Shotgun Misfires

Caught, Bootlegging Booze

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I never went to the Ponderosa Ranch at Incline Village. Nevertheless I did enjoy the TV show. The park closed in 2004. Sad to see that nothing was ever done to preserve it.

Little more information on the old Ponderosa Ranch click here.

Test print proved that the corrosion may mean that these blocks have nothing to offer other than their provenance. Sort of like printing from sand paper. But all-in-all they are nostalgic.